Sunday, February 5, 2017

The End of the Affair

A novel by Graham Greene, I have long wanted to read this. It did not disappoint. Maurice Bendrix is an author in war-torn England, conducting an adulterous love affair with Sarah Miles. After an especially close bomb blast that leaves Bendrix dead, Sarah makes a hasty vow to a God neither of them believe in.  Bendrix comes back to her and that is the end of the affair. He knows nothing of her vow; only that he loved and lost. He begins to hate her. Henry Miles, Sarah's husband, comes to him for advice one day. Sarah is acting strangely, could she be having an affair? (Henry is quite obtuse.) Bendrix's hate for both of them leads him to answer uncharitably. Henry has the name of a detective agency; he burns it, but later Bendrix follows up. God. He has lost Sarah to God. How do you compete with someone you don't believe in? But Sarah believes and that is enough. He begins to hate God.

Bendrix is the narrator and states near the beginning of the book, "So this is a record of hate far more than of love..." It is actually a record of struggle. Mankind's struggle against "the hound of Heaven". The only Lover who counts pursues us until, gasping, we stop running and realize He had only the best in mind for us after all. This is a record of hope. It is one of Greene's best.

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